Topological transitivity

From Encyclopedia of Mathematics
Revision as of 17:03, 7 February 2011 by (talk) (Importing text file)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

A property defined for a topological dynamical system , usually for a flow or a cascade (the time runs through the real numbers or the integers). It consists of the existence of a trajectory that has the whole phase space as its -limit set. (Cf. Limit set of a trajectory; an equivalent condition is the existence of a positive semi-trajectory that is everywhere dense in .) Such a trajectory (semi-trajectory) is called topologically transitive.

Closely related to topological transitivity is the property of transitivity of domains: For any non-empty open sets there is a such that . More precisely, topological transitivity implies transitivity of domains, and the converse holds (cf. [1], [2]) if is a complete separable metric space (in this case the set of topologically-transitive trajectories has the cardinality of the continuum). Hence, with the same hypotheses on , the property of topological transitivity is symmetric with respect to the time direction: If there exists a trajectory having the whole of as its -limit set, then one has transitivity of domains and topological transitivity.

Often topological transitivity is used to mean the existence of a trajectory that is everywhere dense in . (The difference between the definitions is essential when the points of this trajectory form an open set in ; otherwise it is itself an -limit or -limit, and hence the whole of is its -limit or -limit set.) The last definition is also used for more general transformation groups [3]. The definition and some of the results also carry over to the case of non-invertible mappings and semi-groups, although one is usually not concerned with these in topological dynamics.


[1] G.D. Birkhoff, "Dynamical systems" , Amer. Math. Soc. (1927)
[2] V.V. Nemytskii, V.V. Stepanov, "Qualitative theory of differential equations" , Princeton Univ. Press (1960) (Translated from Russian)
[3] W.H. Gottschalk, G.A. Hedlund, "Topological dynamics" , Amer. Math. Soc. (1955)


A topological dynamical system with the property of transitivity of domains is also called topological ergodic (in [3] it is called regionally transitive). In many cases, topological transitivity is implied by metric transitivity.

How to Cite This Entry:
Topological transitivity. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by D.V. Anosov (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article